The Cultured Cup offers adventure to coffee- and tea-lovers.
Above: The cultural world of coffee and tea | Photo by Sarina Israel.
Jasmine Yin Hao, Russian Caravan, Marrakesh, Arka Masala Chai. The very names conjure faraway travel and breathtaking adventure. For millennia tea has traversed the planet, bringing with it economic and cultural trade, as well as the rituals of sitting down with others to exchange ideas, stories, and bonhomie. This tradition continues at The Cultured Cup, a venerable tea and coffee emporium minutes away from the Dallas Galleria.
Named Best Retail Tea Shop in the United States at the 2019 World Tea Expo, The Cultured Cup perfectly blends tea, coffee, community, and education. Behind the accolades are owners Kyle Stewart and Phil Krampetz, who, over the past 25 years, have built their business into a place of connection.
Stewart is the first Certified Tea Specialist in Texas and one of five Specialty Tea Institute Mentors globally. As such, he shares his knowledge through a robust educational program.
The shop offers formal classes regularly, with informal tastings on Saturday afternoons so more casual clientele can learn about the nuances of tea. In addition to attracting a diverse crowd, it also connects tea lovers with one another.
“It is a cross-section of humanity. We want to bring people into a safe and comfortable environment,” Stewart said. “We want tea to be an adventure. We want to reflect its multiculturalism.”
Krampetz shares the educational mission, albeit with coffee. “We look at different coffees in different regions of the world,” he said, adding that distinctions may lie in either the preparation or the ingredients.
Under their tutelage, their students have been making their own contributions to this world. One of their high school employees, for example, created a tea blend as part of an honors entrepreneur project. Not only did it lead to a college scholarship, but the blend is one that the shop continues to sell. Several other students have formed their own thriving tea businesses.
Krampetz and Stewart create many of their unique blends, several of which benefit local non-profits: Verdigris Ensemble Tea and WRR Classic Blend, for example, were designed specifically for these organizations. Crafting them includes working collaboratively with the group to create a unique flavor profile.
“When we did the blend for WRR, we had a tasting with the Board,” Stewart said. “All these people had so much fun.” Additionally, they created Barry’s Very Vanilla Blend, named for host Barry Samsula, to benefit the Friends of WRR. Stewart’s own musical background makes these collaborations particularly meaningful.
Philanthropic partnerships have informed the business since its beginning, when they partnered with the then-newly formed local chapter of Gilda’s Club. Over the years, the event has raised thousands of dollars for the organization.
For the past few years, The Cultured Cup has been working with Café Momentum. And as the world shuttered for the pandemic, Stewart, Krampetz, and their partners created CommuniTea for the organization, donating 100% of sales back to this program. Giving, Stewart emphasizes, “is part of our DNA.”
The pair also touts the emotional benefits of tea and coffee. “It’s the time when everyone sits down and talks,” Krampetz said. This is particularly impactful after 18 months of social isolation.
“This business has brought us so much joy,” Stewart said. And, to its devoted customers, the oasis Stewart and Krampetz have created brings similar pleasure. With the holiday season approaching, now is the perfect time to reconnect.
And what better way to do so than with a few calming sips of fresh tea or coffee from The Cultured Cup.